Explore the defining moments over the last century that made LREI what it is today.
Elisabeth Irwin founded the Little Red School House in 1921 in the attic room of the P.S. 61 Annex at 535 East 16th Street as an alternative public elementary school. Parents and students loved the new dynamic learning community. It..Read More
From 1925 through the early 1960s, all LREI students spent the month of June in the country. This was called June Camp. LREI continues this tradition with a four-day trip for lower school students we now call the Farm Trip.
Parents meet at an ice cream parlor on 6th Avenue and resolve to raise money to continue Little Red School House as an independent school.
The first parent association meeting is held in LRSH’s new building at 196 Bleecker Street.
In 1934, LRSH organized the first International Exhibition Of Children’s Painting at Rockefeller Center, representing work from forty countries. It honored the creativity of children on a scale that had never been imagined – much less attempted – before. Eleanor..Read More
The Little Red School House purchases 196-198 Bleecker Street from The First Presbyterian Church, who had let the school use the building free of charge until then.
The Charter permitted LRSH, among many other legal privileges, the right to certify each child’s attendance, the successful fulfillment of the state’s educational requirements and, as a not-for-profit corporation, the right to solicit contributions to support the school’s operations.
LRSH purchases the 40 Charlton Street building, a former church and settlement house purchased from the Episcopal Mission Society, and opens the high school, which is posthumously named for Elisabeth Irwin in 1942.
Elisabeth Irwin dies on October 16, 1942 at New York Hospital.
Agnes Delima’s The Little Red School House is published. Contributors include Elisabeth Irwin, John Dewey, and LRSH teachers.
Leonard Bernstein, Virgil Thomson, Pearl Bailey, and others perform at a benefit concert at Town Hall in 1943 to raise funds for the machine shop and science laboratory for wartime courses.
Read about EISH’s early years and its first graduating class in INFO, the high school newspaper.
Paul Coburn, a ten-year-old at LRSH, made a speech before the State Legislature, in favor of the Ives-Quinn Anti-Discrimination Bill, which would make New York the first state to enact legislation curtailing the practice of discriminating against job applicants and employees based on race, religion, or creed...Read More
Ninth graders visit the Phelps-Dodge Strike at the Phelps-Dodge Copper Products Corporation plant in Elizabeth, NJ. The eight-month-old strike was one of the longest major industrial disputes on record in the nation, resulting in a 18.5% hourly wage increase and..Read More
Broadway star Avon Long performs at EI as part of Black History Week celebration.
Third Annual Midnight Show of Stars to benefit the scholarship fund on Saturday, April 5, 1952 at the high school features Jack Gilford, Harry Belafonte and others. These annual fundraisers began at midnight and went well into the wee hours.
Randolph Smith was called to testify on “Subversive Influence in the Educational Process” at hearings before the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate in September, 1952.
EI parent Arthur Miller, author of The Crucible, attends an EI production of his play said the following about the performance:
Read The New York Times article from March 1, 1958 here.
On Saturday, October 25, 1958, EI students traveled to Washington D.C. to attend the Youth March for Integrated Schools led by A. Philip Randolph, Jackie Robinson, Coretta Scott King, Harry Belafonte, Bayard Rustin.
On November 5, 1959, Lorraine Hansberry visited students to talk about her writing, including the play A Raisin in the Sun, as part of Book Week.
Students from EI picket Woolworths at 39th Street and Fifth Avenue as part of a Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) drive.
The Intercultural and Enrollment committees of the PA plan an enrollment drive to increase LREI registration of “minority students.” Forty parents and teachers volunteered to work for increased intercultural registration in both schools. Beginning with countless telephone calls, their efforts..Read More
The LRSH annual “midnight show” features Jack Gilford, Alvin Ailey and others. This one begins not at midnight like previous shows, but at 8:30 pm.
Thirty EI students joined the demonstration on opening day of the 1964 World’s Fair. The students picketed the Louisiana Pavilion led by James Farmer and Bayard Rustin. Four students were arrested including Lisa Fein (Gilford), Liz Leicester, and Tom Hurwitz,..Read More
Dr. Randolph Smith retires after 26 years as Director. Coit Johnson becomes the new Director of the Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School.
The Dr. Randolph B. Smith Middle School is established in the buildings at 200/202 Bleecker Street. Until then, grades 5-8 were part of the high school in the 40 Charlton Street building.
Coit Johnson resigns after seven years as director. Continuity of LREI’s strong leadership, shared vision, principles of good progressive practice and financial stability, from Elisabeth Irwin to Randolph Smith to Coit Johnson, provided a sturdy foundation for the steady growth..Read More
LREI students rally to stop their beloved school from closing, mostly due to financial hardship. The school was ultimately saved by its community and remained open.
Randoplh B. Smith, Director from 1943-1968 dies in Rutland, VT. Read his New York Times obituary here.
LREI students sing “Light One Candle” with Peter, Paul, and Mary at their holiday concert at Carnegie Hall in December 1988. Susan Glass led the chorus, then and now. Pay close attention at 1:08 to see Middle School Principal Ana..Read More
LREI launches its all-inclusive intramural basketball program for fifth and sixth graders. Through participation on athletic teams students develop their physical skills and the ability to work together toward a common purpose; they also learn to represent the school within..Read More
Hand in Hand: A benefit concert at NYU EIsner Lubin Hall for Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School featuring Peter, Paul, and Mary (’55), John Hammond, Eric Weissberg, The Robert DeCormier Singers, and other special guests.
On a snowy Friday, January 6th (1989), an enthusiastic audience of students, parents, and friends of the school enjoyed and evening with LREI parents Willem Dafoe and Harvey Keitel in a discussion moderated by noted film teacher and theorist Richard..Read More
A second attempt to close the high school is rejected by the students, faculty, parents, and alumni. The Fund for the High School is established to raise funds earmarked specifically for the upper division.
Parents and faculty work together to construct new rooftop playground
The first annual Founder’s Day, established by Director Andrew Maclaren, pays tribute to Elisabeth Irwin.
Lower School Principal Elaine Winter and parent Alice Krauss, along with other parents, found the LREI Lesbian Gay Straight Alliance (LGSA).
Click here to see the LREI 75th Anniversary booklet that includes photographs and student recollections of the school.
In 2001, Shoshana and Suzanne’s first grade class read a book about Ruby Bridges, a first grader and the first African-American child to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana during the New Orleans school desegregation crisis on..Read More
LREI marches in the New York City Pride Parade. For this annual event, LREI shares a float with the Calhoun School complete with a DJ “booth” and rainbows galore. (Photos in slideshow are from 2014)
LREI hires Sharon Dupree as its first Director fo Diversity and Community. Sandra “Chap” Chapman (also pictured here on the right) becomes Director of Equity and Community in 2007.
LREI celebrated its 90th anniversary by launching the Ideas Speaker Series. The inaugural series included talks by author Siddhartha Mukherjee (P’29, ’23), activist Christy Turlington (P’22,’24), PBS education correspondent John Merrow, and author Steven Johnson.
LREI students participated in Drink Up, a collaboration to encourage everyone to drink more water between the Partnership for a Healthier America – which works with the private sector and PHA Honorary Chairwoman Michelle Obama to make the healthy choice..Read More
The Charlton Street Arts Pavilion, a five-story visual and performing arts space at the High School with classroom and studio spaces designed to inspire, opens.
LREI students featured in New York Magazine’s annual “Reasons to Love New York ” 12th edition, 2016: No. 2 | Because Even Our Protesters Are Precocious. Read the full article here.
Gloria Steinem, feminist journalist and social political activist, visited Ileana Jiménez’ Feminism class.
LREI’s production of The Laramie Project premiered during election week of November 2016 – a fractious and memorable moment in political history, when hate speech was again on the rise. The students who participated in the play hosted an audience talkback..Read More
LREI students travel to Albany to protest the Constitution Pipeline.
Thousands Protest Against Gun Violence Across the U.S., including LREI students from all three divisions. The younger students stood in with signs outside of the Sixth Avenue building while high school students joined crowds of protesters in Washington Square Park...Read More
LREI launches a collective, school-wide effort called The Democracy Project to uphold this country’s core democratic values. The Democracy Project is a student-led initiative to help the LREI student community become more knowledgeable on and involved in the democratic process,..Read More
EI alumna Angela Davis (’61) spoke to the 2021 graduating class at their senior banquet via zoom.